Make Ames feel like your home

Logan Mcdonald

You’ve been here for a couple years. You’ve checked out a show at the M-Shop or gone to see Grandma Mojo’s improv. You’ve gone tailgating and may or may not have eventually gone to football games afterward. You’ve probably eaten enough Jimmy John’s/Fighting Burrito/Subway to feel like you should own some of their stock. You’ve done Veishea. You’ve gone to ClubFest. You’ve probably drank a lot more than you should have. So then what else is there?

A big part of the first years at Iowa State is orienting yourself to campus and campus life. Once you get used to your schedules and meeting times and study sessions and life away from home, you find you still have plenty of free time.

During your freshman and sophomore years, Ames is just the place you go to school, while the place you grew up is your real home. Now is the time to make Ames your own. Don’t make the only reasons you leave campus to get some late night McDonald’s or to pick up laundry detergent at Target. There are plenty of things to do in Ames all year round.

There are several disc golf courses near campus, as well as baseball fields, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts and swimming pools.

Ada Hayden is a huge park just north of Ames with a beautiful lake and several miles of trails. The park is a great place to go for a bike ride or take someone for a date that doesn’t involve bowling or watching movies.

Downtown Ames has a great bar scene that has an entirely different feel than Campustown. There are also plenty of shops downtown that have more than what the North Grand Mall has to offer.

If you don’t have a summer internship or summer job waiting for you at “home,” consider staying in Ames the whole year round. There are plenty of things to do in the summer, despite what you may have heard.

Summer classes can help you get your gen-eds out of the way and let you graduate on time. Even if you’re taking summer classes, there are ample opportunities to do fun things. The Furman Aquatic Center is open all summer long and has several slides, a lazy river and diving boards. Tubing down the Skunk River is one of the best ways to spend a relaxing afternoon in the sun with some friends.

Ames is far from dead, because lots of people stay in Ames for the summer. You’ll even find some of the campus bars starting lines on the weekends.

It is with good reason Ames was recently listed by CNN Money as the 9th best place to live in America. With a stellar university and a thriving community, Ames is a unique city that feels small, but has a lot to offer.

In the years after you graduate, remember the fun times you had at Iowa State, but also think of Ames. It won’t just have been a place where you went to school, it will be a place where you lived.